J. S. Bach, Douglas Adams, and the Happy Genius


Douglas Adams is an acquired taste. I say that with some sadness, but also with a great deal of personal certainty. Because despite my sincere and repeated efforts, I’ve never been able to acquire it. I know many, many tasteful folks who love him and his famous “Hitchiker’s Guide”, so I know it can be [Read More...]

Summa Shorts: “The Monk & The Monkey”


This one’s short and straightforward, yes.  But also visually inventive — the tree and the time-lapse sequence actually made me catch my breath — and the story is charming despite its predictability: I was not familiar with the short’s directorial duo – Brendan Carroll and Francesco Giroldini — but a quick search turned up the fact that [Read More...]

Closer and Closer


Just getting myself ready for tomorrow night with this “little” long-distance number from the occasionally-healthy Hanley Ramirez: OK, so that particular clip isn’t of something getting closer and closer. It’s of something getting really, really far away. Almost impossibly far. But baseball itself is getting closer and closer. For which I am deeply, almost frighteningly [Read More...]

Streaming Suggestion: “Strictly Ballroom”


Baz Lurhmann’s crazy. Seriously. The guy’s insane. For years, I’ve struggled with his films. But not because he’s crazy. I struggle with them because he’s not quite crazy enough. Or at least he’s not whole-heartedly crazy. Not uncompromisingly crazy. He’s always holding a little something back. Wow, you know who sounds crazy now? Me. Luhrmann [Read More...]

Speaking Truth to Power, Jamie-Style


This past Saturday, as Sarah was out grocery-shopping with Dominic, and I was doing something equally important, James, the Fifth Son, was watching Netflix. Saturday-morning cartoons are pretty much an inalienable right in our house. If I remember correctly, the majority of the boys were downstairs with “Wolverine and the X-Men” at the time. (Speaking of which, [Read More...]

Scott Tennant, François Couperin, and A Charming Number of My Favorite Things


I’ve loved guitarist Scott Tennant for years, ever since I first saw The LAGQ’s “Loose Canon.” I love his expressions (facial), his expressiveness (musical), and the way the guitar looks like a toy in his huge (yet gentle) hands. I’ve loved François Couperin’s “Les Barricades Mistérieuses” for ages. (Yes, Sam Rocha, long before I first saw Tree of [Read More...]

A Mystery of Grace


From Benedict XVI’s “Dogma und Verkundigung:” The mystery of the annunciation to Mary is not just a mystery of silence.It is above and beyond all that a mystery of grace. We feel compelled to ask ourselves: Why did Christ really want to be born of a virgin? It was certainly possible for him to have been [Read More...]

Summa Shorts: “French Roast”


Fabrice Joubert’s short was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010, and while it eventually lost out to Nicolas Schmerkin’s Logorama, it’s a text-book example of why I’m in awe of animators: such wonderful characterizations, such astonishing attention to detail, and never a wasted narrative moment. The use of the mirror? Genius. Plus, the little old lady looks [Read More...]

Catching a GLIMPSE


WOW. Touring the Milky Way now is as easy as clicking a button with NASA’s new zoomable, 360-degree mosaic presented Thursday at the TEDActive 2014 Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The star-studded panorama of our galaxy is constructed from more than 2 million infrared snapshots taken over the past 10 years by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. [Read More...]

The Big Bach Puzzler


Over at NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” blog, Tom Huizenga has a fun little quiz called “Wig Out With The Big Bach Puzzler.” His music, as compelling today as it was centuries ago, continues to inspire artists of all stripes. So if you thought you knew a few things about the granddaddy of classical music, try this puzzler to see [Read More...]